City, state and business leaders gathered at the University of Dallas on Wednesday for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate State Highway 114-Orange Line Irving Diamond Interchange.
Dallas Area Rapid Transit Chairman John Danish said he's waited for this day for a very long time.
"Irving has worked so hard," he said. "We've stayed the course starting in 1983 making a one cent contribution to Dallas Area Rapid System."
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State Rep. Linda Harper Brown led the ceremony inside the Haggar University Center. The University of Dallas got its own Orange Line stop this summer.
"As the president of a university which has 1,400 students from the age of 18 to 22, I'm gratified that we'll keep them off the highway on a controlled transportation vehicle that is safe and convenient for the university," said Thomas Keefe, university president.
DART officials said it is the first time in the state of Texas that a light rail will share a right of way with a highway. The DART rail system is also the longest light rail system in the country.
The second phase of the Orange Line's extension, with stops to North Lake College and Belt Line Station, will open Dec. 3. The final stretch will connect the light rail all the way to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.
"We're actually building a station right now in Terminal A and December 2014, DART will actually be approaching DFW Airport, entering DFW Airport and connecting to our terminal buildings," said Jeff Fegan, airport CEO.